Amnesty International Israel will “definitely be removed from the list” of organizations eligible to recruit national service (sherut leumi) personnel, one expert said.

Amnesty International
Activists of Amnesty International demonstrate to show their support with the Syrian people at the Fontaine des Innocentes in Paris May 29, 2012.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Amnesty International Israel is once again recruiting applicants for sherut leumi(Israel national service).

Solicitations for the positions recently went live on the Shlomit website. Shlomit is one of four organizations that handle national service applications.

The new post caused an uproar among some right-wing activists and nationalist, including an organization called Betsalmo, which has registered a formal complaint about Amnesty to the Authority for National Civic Service, calling on the state to immediately prevent national service volunteers from working with the left-wing NGO.

Last month, Amnesty International, the umbrella organization of Amnesty International Israel, came under fire by the state when it published a report called “Destination: Occupation” that called on the four largest web vacation booking sites – Airbnb,, Expedia and TripAdvisor – to boycott West Bank settlements, as well as Jewish listings in east Jerusalem.

In the aftermath of the report, Strategic Affairs and Public safety Minister Gilad Erdan said he would consider banning non-Israeli Amnesty employees from Israel if it continued acting out against settlement tourism. He called the report “hypocritical” in that it spoke in the name of human rights but in practice it supported an antisemitic and de-legitimization campaign against Israel.

Reuven Pinsky, director of the Authority for National Civic Service, acknowledged that he had received these complaints but “my hands are tied.”

“It is crazy that these young people are doing national service with an organization like Amnesty,” said Pinsky, “but I cannot stop the organization from recruiting volunteers.”

At least for now.

Pinsky said that beginning in September 2019 Amnesty will “definitely be removed from the list” of organizations eligible to recruit national service personnel. At that time, the March 2017 law that cancels national-service positions in organizations that receive most of their funding from foreign government will come into effect.

The new law initiated by MK Amir Ohana (Likud) was rooted in his efforts to end the phenomenon in which the state funds organizations that he considers to be undermining Israeli policy through foreign government funding. The bill, which ultimately regulates the entire field of national service in Israel, was drafted based on a report by the right-wing NGO Im Tirtzu, which discovered that there were 12 national service positions available in five organizations that receive most of their funding from foreign governments.

At the time, the five organizations named were B’Tselem – The Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, Israel Social TV and the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants.

Amnesty was not on the list. And according to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Uri Ariel, whose office oversees national service, “It is important to note that the state does not fund Amnesty’s positions, they pay for them on their own.”

Gil Naveh, head of media and communications for Amnesty, told the Post that the organization has used national service volunteers for at least more than a decade. He said the organization pays NIS 1,900 for the workers, most of the funds pay for Shlomit administrative services and a few hundred shekels per month are provided to the volunteers.

Currently, Amnesty has three volunteers. In the past, the organization has had as many as six.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post